Posts Tagged ‘Karan Johar’

So just a while back, Karan Johar was at his baddest badass talk when he ‘came out’ at this AIB event, the AIB Knockout – The Roast of Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.

299285-thumbI am just linking to that YouTube video here and not actually embedding it here, because, being a “family blog”, if I had to really embed the show video here, it would keep going beep-beep-beep, etc.

That show was crazy! Crazy, unbelievable that it happened in public, made me wonder if there is anything like a censor board for such stand-up shows. Of course, also made me wonder if we really need one today? Has the society moved on to a level where these inhibitions are a thing of the past, and any language, any sexual innuendo, any admission of sexcapades or preferences, etc. can be out in the open, without needing to worry about anything at all?? And if that is the case, then sure, we don’t really need censors, and shows like these can be the norm.

That a standup act of this nature is no more restricted to the four walls of a small theatre, but via YouTube, goes out to millions, makes it more critical. In terms of censorship or not!

KMlkjalia-bhatt1

But that said, it was clear that all of the folks present on stage there, and several stars in the front rows too (Alia, Deepika, Sonakshi, among others) were all having a ball. Perhaps for once, to be in public, not required to be politically correct, about anything or anyone, and also about language!

And Karan Johar was also enjoying it, as was his mom, sitting out there on the first row!

So since the Filmfare Awards night followed just a little later, where again, Karan Johar was on stage, the worry that the organisers had, was that what if he liked the AIB freedom so much, that the hangover of that openness showed up at the Filmfare Awards too..?? Wouldn’t that be one disaster??!

sdror8h4cyrxtudj.D.0.Filmmaker-Karan-Johar-at-the-first-look-launch-of-JHALAK-DIKHHLA-JAA-Season-6--2-Here is what they were worried about:

“And the life time achievement award goes to this mother-&%$#* who’s spent his life sleeping around with the industry, ______”

or

“Yeah, yeah, these are the debutantes, and we know just how they got the films and how they made this list, don’t we?” **Wink-wink to Ranveer, Shah Rukh and other stars.**

or after Shahid Kapoor takes his award and makes his way down, Karan, keeps watching him from behind (rather, “keeps watching his behind”) and blurts out “Ouch! What an a**..!”

or when a co-host brings up the “touchy” subject of his relationship with Shah Rukh, he explodes, “Haa.. tha mera lafda uske saath.. tha.. kya ukhaad lega tu, b&*%$@*d..?!”

or when the young director won his award, and tucked the award into his pants as he made his acceptance speech, Karan says, “when he came to the Dharma office, he wouldn’t let me into his pants, and now the bas&!#d tucks the black lady inside..!!”

With fears of such possibilities, the organisers had got Kapil Sharma around, so that if necessary, they could drag Karan down, and out of the show, and let Kapil handle it independently.. !

 

(** Written in faking news style, with malice to one and all.. 😉 **)

 

 

 

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** Spoiler alert ** : There is some mention of the storyline here, and if you do not want to get any such hints, and you do plan to see the film, then you shouldn’t read this blog post!

I have little memory of the old Agneepath. Except for the legendary dialog that spoke, “Vijay Dinanath Chavan.. aaj maut ke saath apna appintment hai.. appintment!”, there is not much else that I remembered of that film.

Yet, the new Agneepath brought back memories of the 1980s, and the angry young man genre that Amitabh lived and thrived on. And while that was good for nostalgia sake, the genre: a) is out of place in today’s age of style and panache, even in thrill, and b) has Amitabh written all over it, whether you like it or not!

That seems to be the movie’s biggest challenge to overcome.

With no decent film releasing in recent times, and with the Hrithik magic, and the Agneepath remake curiosity,  full houses were ensured on the first day, which happened to be a national holiday as well. Whether the initial will convert into reasonable sustenance of a couple of weeks or not, is questionable?

So let’s look at the good parts first.

It is an out and out action film. To the point of saying that it is one of the most violent Hindi films released in recent times. Lots of blood, knives, bullets, punches.. in short, gore. Now, I put this in the good part, and also in the bad, I guess. Good, because as pure action genre, it is power packed. But beyond a point, it gets to be a little much.

Priyanka in her small role, does a good spunky Mumbai chawl, bindaas girl. Like K3G’s Kajol was from Chandni Chowk!

Sanjay Dutt looks a menacing Kancha. Yes, after a long time, a Hindi film has shown a truly villainous look. Compliments to the visualizer of the look.

It is nice to see Rishi Kapoor coming up with a good performances, every now and then. Also good to see him getting nice, meaty roles.

Another old timer, Zarina Wahab is seen on screen after a long time. But her role is miniscule, with not much room to emote!

Katrina Kaif’s Cheekni Chameli had become a hit well before the release of the film. Unlike a lot of other item girls who do not put much energy into their dances, but let the movement of the camera and the glamour of the look (think Deepika in Dum Maro Dum) make it happen for them, one has to grant Katrina full marks for hard work. With a Brit accent, hardly being able to speak decent Hindi, if she has made it to the top today, it is not just because of her looks, but also because of the intense effort she seems to be putting into her work. This song is an example of the same.

My only worry about this song is.. no, my fear in fact.. that this will be played a lot at parties. And I shudder to see socialite women making the moves that Katrina makes in this song. Oh my God!!

Finally, Hrithik is fabulous as an action hero. Quiet, intense, angry.. he brings alive the Amitabh of the 1980s.

So that said, what are the minuses then?

The extreme violence for one. It gets to be too much!

Also that where the storyline is based, is certainly not contemporary, and would not quite qualify as ‘period’. And which is where it hangs in the middle, sort of. We don’t know whether to view it as a ‘now’ story – it isn’t – and whether to view it as historical – which again, it isn’t.

Rauf Lala peddling drugs galore AND doing human flesh trade openly in Mumbai, and the police being aware, but unable to do anything, seemed strange. Unless I have NO idea of what the real Mumbai was / is like?!

Also where the protagonist, the angry man looking for revenge, attempts to get sympathy / understanding from the audience, that he is killing many with his cocaine trade (while he is shown to release the girls from the flesh trade of Rauf Lala) is questionable.

Finally, the way I see it, for a movie that has anger as an undertone throughout, the anger itself is not very visible. The storyline is not developed that well, or the emotions do not come out that strongly, somehow. Unlike say, a Deewar, where Amitabh’s anger is permanent virtually.

So all in all, if you can tolerate oodles of violence, do give it a shot. And if you can’t, then you must totally avoid this one.

It could have been the expectations. There were big statements by SRK and KJo about this being bigger than anything they have done, and what not. About it being a labor of love. And stuff of that kind.

And then the whole SRK-Sena fracas and the question about the possible release of the film in Mumbai. And about how people in Mumbai might be deprived of seeing a masterpiece.

All of this could have been part of the cause of my disappointment.

But only a part. The film just did not deliver and my disappointment came because of that.

But before I get started with my crib sheet, let’s put the good stuff up front. The film was all Shah Rukh Khan. And he does a wonderful job, playing a character with Asperger’s Syndrome. As one with the affliction, the role demands special delivery, and SRK delivers. It is good, it is impressive, as only a role like this can get out of him!

Having said that, if we have to compare with other special characters in films, I would list the following for comparison: Aamir in Ghajani, Hrithik in Koi Mil Gaya, Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par, Ayesha Kapur as the young girl in Black. And I’d believe that all of them did a wonderful job, and SRK in MNIK was somewhere in the middle of this group, certainly not the best there.

But what SRK does well is to constrain his usual style, and put in a tremendously retrained performance as demanded by this role. And which is good.

Kajol looks awesome. Just wish she’d do more films. She has a magnetic personality on screen, and she stands out. Although her role is far smaller than that of SRK, she made it worth seeing the film!

No other character is seriously developed as all of them are bit players compared to SRK. Which is where I start with my crib sheet!

So here’s the exhaustive list of the issues that I have with the film:

1. The point of it! Other than creating sympathy for one suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, I don’t see the story having any other point. This whole business of all Muslims not being terrorists, I believe, does not need to be told, and when it is told here, appears like one big sermon. For me, the character of Hrithik, and what he had to go through as a city bred Muslim, post Mumbai riots, in the film, Fiza, told a better story! And there must be others like those. MNIK was just one more lecture, of the type you hear from politicians post any terrorist event!

2. The whole point of randomly walking around or going in buses, from one place to another in the US, again without much purpose, also made no sense to me. Ok – what are we trying to prove?

3. Also while I grant the filmmaker, some liberties of stretching facts, when he names places (and he could have easily named other places!), there has to be an understanding of geography. People seem to hop into small town Georgia, all the way from California, or wherever, like it was a 2 hour drive away! Let’s just understand what this distance is like?

4. The scene in the hurricane in Georgia is the most astounding.

– First, in the middle of that hurricane, SRK manages to reach there, like in a hurry, from wherever he was,

– Then, Mamma Jenny asks him to go away! Travel out in that hurricane, back to safety. And like, if he could, why couldn’t they??

– Then the Indian crew of PBS and interns from Star News also wade their way through. And in that hurricane, shoot scenes and project it on live TV. And that’s like the first that the world sees of Khan’s heroices.

– Neither has any kind of official government aid still reached, nor has other mainstream US media reached there. Yet, the place is evidently reachable, as later you see many individual helpers also wade their way in. Including folks from across the country, in California.

Like this place was not a town in modern day USA, but was a small village in Africa, which nobody cared about?!! A little bizarre, I thought.

All in all, there was not much of a story, and these wild extensions were made, to stretch the product to 2.5 hours. Maybe Striker or Road to Sangam drive a better story about the Muslim being, in current times. I haven’t seen either, but have read the storylines, and they seem better. Or a US story with Muslim characters then, is better depicted in thriller, Kurbaan. My Name is Khan does not seem to go anywhere at all!

So except for Shah Rukh’s acting as one with Asperger’s Syndrome, and the rare opportunity these days to see Kajol on screen, there was nothing for me. So much so that I was fidgeting away, tweeting thoughts even while the movie was on. Something I did not need to do in Kurbaan or Harishchandrachi Factory or Ishqiya in recent times. I had gone on a Sunday afternoon, post lunch, with 4 others. Two of them dozed off, for parts of the movie. All this tells me that it did not engross us!

For once, I would propose to those who have not seen the film, that you can safely give it a miss. No, I would not recommend even seeing it once!

Kurbaan is clearly a different animal from the Karan Johar stable. I am glad for Karan to have dared to try a different genre. It is an eminently watchable movie!

** Spoiler alert: if you are planning to see the movie, you may not want to read further. Not that I am telling the whole story, but inadvertently, I may mention stuff that you’d rather see on-screen and be surprised! **

Kurbaan is largely based in the US, and with minor changes in skin color, language and characters, could easily have been a niche Hollywood film.

Ok, before anyone jumps on me, I do not think that Hollywood equals greatness or perfection. So by calling Kurbaan a Hollywood-esque film, I am not giving it any exalted status, in that respect. It is just in a matter of story focus, style, genre and a certain thrill that we do not see often, in Indian films, but see in Hollywood all the time.

There are a few slips and questions that one can have, with the movie. And for the record, I will share those later. But for most parts, Kurbaan has an excellent script, maintains good pace, keeps you engaged, and looks quite real. The performances are good, there is minimal waste of footage, and considering the times we live in, it is almost too close for comfort!

Also the story is like Fanaa in many ways. A very smart, handsome and intelligent Muslim protagonist, having an Islamic axe to grind, partly on account of personal history and partly also on account of having been influenced, pretends to be a good lover boy, but ultimately abandons the love, for the “bigger mission”. This paragraph can describe both Fanaa and Kurbaan, so in that respect, they are similar. That both have popular Indian Khan heroes is another coincidence. Or done by purpose, as it may be more credible to the audience? I don’t know. Only Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra would know this with better conviction!

As the titles roll in, you are pleasantly surprised to see the name Vivek Oberoi there. After a long hiatus (by choice or forced due to no offers, not sure!), we see him on-screen. Happy to note that it is Vivek and not Vivekk or whatever it was that he had done with his name. If the return of the name to a normal spelling is an indicator of his return to normalcy overall, then we will look forward to see more Saathiya-s in future! While on the subject of names and spellings, there is Kirron Kher that we also see in the titles. Oh well, maybe the change in spelling worked better for Kiran than it did for Vivek. Long live Sanjay Jumani and Sunita Menon 🙂

The story is simple. Saif Ali Khan woos Kareena (considering their real life connect, perhaps it did not take much to woo her over) in Delhi, where both are college teachers. Gets married and tags along (as a major ‘sacrifice’ by leaving his career behind) with her to the US, when she is called back by her University there. They somehow end up picking a house in an Indian neighbourhood in New York, where the Muslim family across the road, invite them over for dinner. That is when Kareena comes across some strange goings on there, and shares with Saif. Who suggests her to ignore it. Kareena finds out, to her rude shock, that in fact, these guys are a sleeper terrorist cell, and worse, that Saif is very much a part of it. And that, the entire charade of love and marriage was just that. A charade. To get to the US legitimately.

That all of this happens before the intermission tells you that the story does not dwindle.

Saif is also a ruthless killer in his mission and would have not batted an eyelid in finishing Kareena off at this point. Except for the fact that she is pregnant with his baby, and there perhaps, just perhaps, there is a bit of love there. He chooses to keep her alive, but in near house arrest. Kareena had managed to inform about the goings on to Vivek Oberoi, a Muslim journalist, who instead of going to the police, decides to investigate the matter himself. Meanwhile the terror gang – well, a family in fact – led by Om Puri (inimitable style) and his wife, Kirron Kher (great performance, with the Afghani accent and all that) meanwhile plan the bigger plot. A series of subway bombings.

How it all ends up, with the FBI chasing them on one hand, and Vivek and Kareena trying to get them to justice from inside, makes up for the rest of the story.

It is a taut thriller, very unlike Indian films. Not much time or footage is wasted on unnecessary song, dance, romance. Whatever extent it is shown, is almost necessary for the story to move ahead. Well, when director Rensil had the hot Saifeena as the couple, he managed to integrate some hot scenes as part of the story, as these would be done well by the pair “naturally”. Fair enough!

The camera work and lights are used well, especially in the indoor scenes. Saif continues to impress with an excellent performance. Kareena looks awesome and acts very well too. Vivek Oberoi returns with a very credible performance. And as mentioned before, Om Puri and Kirron Kher deliver well, as usual!

Coming to the slips and minor flaws, if they must be pointed out:

1. The initial romance looks just too easy. Was Kareena just waiting to be picked up? Well..

2. There are a fair number of killings – on streets, in subways. The NYPD, FBI are shown to be like Indian cops here. Coming in late to the scene!

3. There is a scene where Saif is asked to go to “level 2” in a building, and he climbs two stories. In the US, level 2 would actually be just one storey up!

4. Nothing is mentioned at the end, about the Indian accomplice of Saif, who was staying and “guarding” Kareena’s father, at their house. A loose end left loose.. !

5. Saif’s character, the part which is interested to keep Kareena alive, is not explained well. Is he is love with Kareena, does he just want to save his baby, or both, is not clear. And why does he want to do that. This is quite crucial, and yet unexplained.

6. Likewise, once Kareena realizes the extent to which she has been “used” by Saif, there could only have been hatred in her mind, for him. She is aware that she is being kept alive, for her baby. And that her father is virtually a hostage back in India. In that scenario, the one scene where she seduces Saif back, can be assumed to have happened with a purpose. To get her hands on some documents from him. But when she nurses his wounds earlier, and at the end, when she cries for him, where did that come from? If she still has some love for him, the motivation for that is just not clear?

So yes, if you see with a microscope, you will find a few such question marks. But you can pardon those, in the interest of a genuine attempt by Rensil to create a very topical thriller, that keeps you engaged for the nearly 3 hours of its duration.

Go, see Kurbaan!

Yeah, really..life would have been just fine, if Sid had not been woken up, or Mukerji had not made this movie at all.

Or if Karan Johar had not gone grovelling to apologize and put up a big banner at  the beginning of the movie, with the apology. He would have retained self respect, and some of us may have not had to go through the flick!

But they woke him up. And Karan went to Raj’s feet and apologised. And the film got released. And I found myself in that seat watching the proceedings. Which did not really “proceed”.

In fact, they woke up Sid. But let the scriptwriter fall asleep. And because of which the same scenes kind of repeated, and the story seemed to be stuck at a point. If a viewer in the theatre had fallen asleep after the first thirty, there would have been no need to wake him up till the last thirty. He would have not missed anything interim!

So they say, it is a story about the coming of age of a rich spoilt brat kid. Much like Dil Chahta Hai (Aamir’s character, I suppose).

First of all, WUS and DCH should not be used in the same sentence together. Where DCH was a defining moment by a great filmmaker, WUS is not even a pretense. No seriously, if you must compare, think how it would have been, to just make a movie about Saif’s character in DCH. Without adding any more twists or turns. Saif’s character justified that 20% footage in DCH. Mukerji has made an entire film, WUS, out of that kind of a storyline. You get the picture now?

And if the comparison has to continue, lets speak about the music too. Both had Shankar Ehsan Loy. But just having the same music director does not ensure that same quality of music. DCH pretty much had an excellent, consistent score right through, with memorable songs that still come to your lips. WUS has a couple of short term winners, due to an aggressive push on radio, but I assure you, these will be forgotten in exactly 2 months, if not earlier.

In terms of the cast, its really just two people. Rest are furniture. That is the other problem with films like these. No development of other characters! Anyway, Ranbir will get slotted into these stupid roles, if he does not pick his films better. Guys like Imran and even Neel Nitin might steal a march over him, no matter his last name and pedigree!

And Konkona – really, if she must do crass commercial cinema, she can still find better roles than this one. Or why not stick to projects which allow her immense opportunity to showcase the awesome talents that she does have??

So you might ask me, ‘what about those great newspaper reviews?’. Well, I am convinced now, that if Karan Johar will go to the length of losing all self respect and go and apologize publicly, for a writer’s license in using the word “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai”, then what does it take to get a reviewer to write a favorable review?? Especially with publications like TOI, which have become advertorials all through, how much can it cost, to have a great review written??

The week before I had mentioned that if Salman Khan wanted to write a promotional press release, he could have not written a better one than what Avjit Ghosh wrote, supposedly as a review of ‘Wanted’. Likewise is the case, this week, for Avjit’s review of Wake Up Sid. Like a film and a filmmaker could do no wrong, and if there was a lifetime achievement award to be given, it should be given right now, to all the cast and crew of Wake Up Sid!!

A tad too flattering?? What say?